Monday 2 October 2023

Encounter at the Ring Contour, KG Von Luck campaign #1


After our adventures on the Eastern Front, René. Arvid and Jasper felt ready for another Chain of Command campaign. A quick selection process showed that troops were available for the Von Luck pint sized campaign. This pits a Kampfgruppe of PanzerGrenadiere from the 21st Panzer Division under Major Von Luck against the newly arrived 12 Parachute Battallion of 6th Airborne Division on D-Day.


As the Paras have been dropped in the middle of the night, they have become widely dispersed and part will only turn up during the campaign, which effectively covers only the late morning to evening of June 6th 1944. This is the result of some dice rolling, with half the platoon ready for action at start and no supports.

Von Luck attacks in the morning (after some delay which is too complicated a story to bore you with, but takes a dozen pages in his memoirs) from the Colombelles industrial area northwest of Caen, on the eastern bank of the Orne river and canal.

His goal are the bridges over the Orne and canal captured that night in Operation Deadstick.

The original Pegasus bridge, now replaced by a broader one

If Von Luck can drive the Paras back to Pegasus bridge before glider reinforcements arrive in the evening, he will have cut 6th Airborne Division in two and will threaten the landing zones of the reinforcements. He has 8 campaign turns to do it. The German player must rotate his 3 platoons each campaign turn. This is first platoon, with the support options.

In the afternoon of last Saturday, we start out with the first scenario of the campaign: two patrols meet at the so called Ring Contour, on map #1. 


Force morale is 9 for the Paras, 8 for the PzGren. 


And here are the jump off points: Paras hold the hedge 


A squad of PzGren appears on the right flank.

And a bit later a couple of scouts on the left 

A Red Beret sticks out of the wheat. That's a 2" mortar team. 


But otherwise, all you hear are crickets. The Germans seem to be waiting for orders from higher up and time passes...

... but eventually the Germans start moving forward, cautiously through the wheatfields. 


And more appear! An FOO 


and another squad

This goads the Paras into action! A shot cracks just past the German FOO. Sniper! 

The PanzerGrenadiere look round but can't see where the shot came from...

It provides just enough distraction for a Bren team that has sneaked up on the FOO to open up. The FOO goes down, never knowing what hit him. 


A PzGren squad opens up in the right direction but misses the Bren team, which then disappears again...

German morale takes a hit, but the advance continues, while the sniper keeps sniping, killing a Grenadier. Yet more Germans appear

And then, one by one the para sections open up. 


The first two are not complete yet (their mates are still making their way from dispersed drops), but the third is full. 


They inflict considerable damage on the two Grenadier squad in front of them

The sniper keeps up his challenge but misses. And gets spotted. The German squad replies but misses

A firefight develops on German left flank. Their MGs pour out an amazing amount of fire while the paras seem paralysed. [In game terms, Arvid rolled a series of double 6s for command dice, meaning he got 3 turns in a row, after which René managed to roll five 5s, meaning not being able to activate units. Unlucky!]

[Arvid claims it was tactical insight, helicopter view, knowing your enemy, knowing your capabilities.... anyway!]

Before they know it 5 men have fallen in the 1st section and the rest "move rapidly to the rear". The remaining troops start feeling slightly unieasy about the prospects of holding the position.


At which point the British platoon leader thinks it is better to withdraw. Even though the damage isn't huge and force morale is still at 7, it is clear that the Germans have the upper hand in the firefight with 4 MG42s against 2 Brens. 

The voluntary withdrawal counts as a loss for the Paras and this disappoints the battallion commander. The men seem to retain their confidence in the platoon commander though, and he himself remains "happy". Two paras are permanently lost to the platoon and three will miss next game because of wounds or because they "withdrew a tad too enthusiastically".

The German 1st platoon has lost 2 men lost permanently. Von Luck, who hadn't seen the company commander in action before, is favourably impressed, and the company commander's mood improves from "content" to "happy". The men in the company however think that this level of competence is to be expected.

Next game will be on the edge of Bas de Ranville.

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